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South Africa: Bahlali Bayanda: Building ubuhlali in #Gauteng

Despite the attacks and repression that we face our movement continues to become a home for impoverished people. Our movement is growing and we have vibrant branches in a number of provinces.

Submitted to Enough is Enough. Image: Archive image by Abahlali baseMjondolo.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Today we will embark on a mission of building ubuhlali in the province of Gauteng. Ubuhlali is our ideology that speaks about Living Politics. This is a politics that speaks to the fact that we do not have access to land, housing, water and electricity. It is a politics that speaks to the fact that we are purposely made to be poor. It is a politics that speaks to the restoration of dignity of impoverished people. It is a politics that starts from the realities of the everyday lives of impoverished people and remains under the democratic control of impoverished people.

The President of the movement S’bu Zikode will also visit Zikode Extension, the new occupation on the East Rand between Boksburg and Germiston. The leadership of the movement in Gauteng has been facing death threats from unknown men.

The movement is not only facing repression and threats in KwaZulu-Natal. Our comrades are threatened throughout the country. When we speak truth to power, build the democratic power of impoverished people from below, and take direct action to occupy and hold land, we are often threatened.

In Volksrust, in Mpumalanga, members of Abahlali are currently being threatened with eviction by Transnet. We are preparing to launch two more branches in Mpumalanga.

We continue to occupy land even if it means that we face the barrel of the gun from the SAPS, the Anti–Land Invasion Unit, the JMPD, the Red Ants and the so called Law Enforcement in Cape Town. Impoverished people continue to face evictions throughout the country. We continue to pay for land with struggle, suffering and blood. Yet the hypocrites in the ANC are speaking about land expropriation without compensation!

People want to be closer to the cities so that they can improve their lives. When they occupy unoccupied land is because they want to survive and to thrive. It is progressive when grassroots movements occupy land for living. It is regressive when government attacks people who are opening new land for living. It is regressive when government, or other forces, claim that there is a ‘third force’ driving us to occupy land and to build our autonomous power from below. The ANC government is a government of the rich that speaks in the name of the poor. They are deeply threatened when we organise ourselves outside of the structures of the party and speak for ourselves. But we have a democratic right to organise freely and to express ourselves freely and we will not turn back from the path that we have taken.

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